I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Darlene Forsdick, Lorrie Forde and members of the Summerland Sister City Committee and the District of Summerland for all the work and effort they have put into organizing and maintaining our relationship with Toyokoro Japan.
A few years ago I was somewhat indifferent and maybe even a little skeptical about the value of having a relationship with a city on the opposite side of the world.
Last fall our daughter Adrianna, applied for and was successful in being selected as the Assistant English Teacher for our Sister City in Toyokoro. At the end of June of this year she left for her new home.
In September, I had the pleasure of traveling with a wonderful group of ambassadors from Summerland.
We were treated to a cultural experience and hospitality second to none. Even the stores had Canadian flags in their windows and a sign welcoming the Summerland delegation.
I also had the opportunity to see Adrianna in her new environment. She is surrounded by her new friends, her newly adopted grandfather and an entire community that really gets the value of the Sister City relationship.
I have always thought I was open minded, but I guess sometimes I am guilty of becoming too comfortable in my own surroundings. My eyes have been opened as I participated in the opportunity of a lifetime and had the exposure to a society that is the model for respect, courtesy and working together for the benefit of everyone. Thank you to the Sister City Committee and the District of Summerland for persevering and maintaining this wonderful relationship, in spite of indifference, adversity and scepticism including my own.
When I think of the challenges of keeping a program like this going, I cannot help but think of a quote from Margaret Mead. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”